Everyone knows how cool cats are. With their great social need and independence, they make a perfect company for everyone. They do not require a lot of your time such as morning walks, and neither do they bark. Have you ever visited your friend and saw how close he is to his or her cat? That feeling when the cat is curled near the sofa or jumping up on their owners is the best thing you can ever have. If you ask the owners, they will not hesitate to tell you that cats offer the best companionship and don’t have exaggerated demands. After admiring your friend’s cat, you may think it’s the best time for you to enjoy the entertainment and companionship of your own cat.
However, be assured that adopting a cat for the first is not a walk in the park. Cats are independent in nature, but this doesn’t mean that they need no care. Seeing your friend with one doesn’t automatically say you can bring one and give it a home it deserves. Before you even bring a cat in your home, it’s wise to understand that taking care of it and loving it are two different things. When you decide to adopt one, be prepared as it comes with a set of responsibilities which you may not be aware of, and if you can’t understand what it takes to raise it, you are likely to make a million and one mistakes.
You might be wondering what mistakes you can make, and that’s why we present to you the 20 biggest mistakes new cat owners make. After reading them, you will understand what not to do in case you bring one in your home, but please remember to thank us later.
Choosing the cat on the basis of color
It goes without saying that the color of the cat gives you the very first impression. Understanding what colors you love is the best thing as it drives you in deciding which cat to adopt. However, do not be deceived by the color as there are other important things to consider. Ensure that the cat you opt to bring to your home has the right temperament that suits yours. If you are an active person, look for an active cat that can tear around your house constantly. If you are a couch potato, an active cat will evidently get you mad. Holding out a solid white cat is probably the best thing you can have, but ignoring the temperament pollutes the game.
Starting with young kittens
Kittens are little angels that everybody wants to have. Again, kittens could be the best thing to bring to your lovely children to play around with when you are busy preparing food or doing other house chores. However, as a fast time cat owner, the biggest mistake you could make is to bring young kittens to your home. If you get a kitten from a breeder, there is a likelihood that it will be old enough to come home with you. Nevertheless, don’t be blinded by the online sellers as they sell too young kittens to bring home. If you make a mistake of adopting one, it will end up with major health problems that you’ll never be able to cope with. Young kittens are cute but it’s better to give up on their cuteness than to suffer after their death and end up blaming yourself for not handling their health problems.
Rushing cat introductions
If you are fond of pets, you may be familiar with how to handle them. For instance, having a dog in your home brings a great companionship and knowledge on how to take care of pets. However, most new cat owners make a huge mistake of rushing to introduce their cats to other pets. It’s obvious that everyone wants to see their pet playing around with other pets, but rush introductions pollute the game. Be patient and introduce them properly and sit back as you await great rewards. Rush introduction is a bad idea and these pets may not get along in addition to several fights that may injure one of your pets.
Not being prepared
If you visit your closest friend and see the lively relationship he or she has with the cat, it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have the same after bringing one to your home. One of the biggest mistakes that new cat owners make is to rush in getting a cat without covering the basics. You should ensure that you have everything the cat needs to be comfortable and happy in your home. The reason you see your friend’s cat happy is because the owner understood the basics of keeping a cat before bringing them home. If you get a cat from the breeders, it will automatically experience stress in your home in case you don’t have the necessary items. Again, you should not assume that cats are independent, but you should be prepared to spare your time for them as they need time and attention, failure to which they will end up destroying your favorite stuff such as furniture.
Failure to provide the cat its own bed
When you bring the cat in your home for the first time, the only thing that runs through your mind is that it will find a quiet and comfortable corner to spend the nights, or probably join you in your bed. Being a total stranger in your cat’s eyes, it will definitely not fall in love with you on the first day, and thus can’t share your bed. The best thing you can do if you wish to share the bed with your cat is to give it time, and after knowing you more, you will be the happiest person to share your bed with it. However, bringing the cat in your home is introducing it to a totally strange environment, and don’t expect it to find somewhere to sleep. You should let the cat see where it’s allowed to sleep. Setting up a box, a shelf, or a basket with a fluffy mat could be a good start. You can include little catnip and set the bed in good position to create some interests. For new cat owners, all you want is to have a good companionship with your cat, but failure to provide its own bed is a common mistake which you should avoid.
Failure to provide identification
When you visit your friend and see how close they are to their cats, you tend to think that when the cat was brought in, it adapted to the new environment. That’s why when you intend to bring one, you are likely to make a huge mistake of not providing identification. A dog is an indoor pet, but it should have identification. Many new cat owners have reported the missing of their cats after bringing them in. If your cat lacks a tag or a collar to identify it, he can get lost or get injured, and no one will trace where it comes from. You may say that identification is not necessary if you want to keep your cat strictly indoors, but believe me that when it gets a chance to sneak out, it could never come back to you again.
They fail to consider veterinary cost and care
The reason you see your friend’s cat healthy and lively is because the owner understands how important it is to take the cat to the vet. However, many new cat owners have a notion that cats are independent, and thus fail to put into consideration any veterinary care and cost and the need for the cat to have regular checkups in order to stay healthy. What you need to understand is that just like any other pet, cats require regular examination, vaccination, and an veterinary care immediately you notice it’s either sick or injured. On the same note, you should only bring a cat if you can provide it with the correct care.
Feeding cheap, dry food
If you have never had a cat in your home, bringing one could pose a challenge as you can feed it with any food that you come across to, including dry food. Many new cat owners have had the mistake of feeding their cat with cheap dry food which is normally filled with grain and other substances not recommended for cat. Still on feeding, new cat owners make a mistake of giving their cats a lot of water, without understanding that cats should not drink a lot of it as they are hydrated from the food they eat. If you plan to bring a cat sooner, don’t give it dry food but plenty of natural alternatives such as Evanger’s Organic Canned Cat Food or raw diet for even better results.
Failure to keep the litter clean
If you have never adopted a cat, you probably assume that it doesn’t care about its litter. However, you will be surprised after realizing that cats are clean creatures and can never go to the bathroom where the litter is dirty and stinking. This is a huge mistake new cat owners make, and if you don’t clean the litter, you will have reasons to regret why you brought the cat in the first place after realizing that it relieves itself anywhere in the house. If your cat doesn’t use the litter despite the fact that its clean, it could be suffering from health issues such as urinary tract infection. Such conditions are beyond your control, and you should take it to a vet.
Failure to groom the cat
For new cat owners, there is the assumption that cats are naturally clean and can keep themselves clean. Even though this assumption could be true, your cat needs special care for it to feel clean and healthy. Assuming that their coats should be as they are is a bad idea. You should brush its coat and bath it once in a while. Cats have a dental problem and maintaining dental hygiene is recommendable.
Failure to spay/neuter their cats
For new cat owners, it could be challenging to adopt more than one. By bringing a cat in your home, new owners find no need of spaying/neutering, forgetting that your neighbor could have a cat of a different sex. This is a huge mistake because you might not be able to watch its every move, and you’ll be surprised after realizing that your male cat is spending most of the time outside, or he is spaying everywhere. Similarly, you’ll have to deal with the fact that your female cat is consistently mewing when on heat, or be surprised when you unexpectedly find her with a litter of kittens.
Allowing the cat to roam outside unsupervised
For new cat owners, they make the mistake of allowing their cats to roam outside without supervising them. It goes without saying that a cat cannot spend its entire life indoors as it can go out one time or the other. But if you let it run around loose outside, you are making a huge mistake as you present your lovely cat to more risks to its longevity and health. Allowing your cat to go out is another name of exposing him to viruses and other pathogens that are likely to cause serious diseases. Your cat can also be poisoned or become prey for wild animals such as coyotes, not forgetting domestic pets such as dogs. Your cat can also fight with other cats outside and given that its new, it will lose as it lacks street-fighting skills. Keep your first cat like a pro by supervising your cat anytime it walks out.
Using harsh discipline
When you decide to bring a cat in your home, it’s because you want to enjoy its companionship. However, many new cat owners make the mistake of using harsh discipline with the intentions of training them to do what the owners want. You’ll be surprised to realize that cats are sensitive to rough handling as well as raised voices. Harsh discipline only makes your cat keep away from you, and that’s not what you want as you won’t be able to enjoy their warmth and companionship.
Allowing the cat to get fat
Just like in human beings, obesity and overweight are common in cats. New cat owners don’t realize this and thus overfeed their cats in the name of love, but be assured that food is not equal to love. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 28% of cats in the U.S. are obese, and 58% are overweight. Overweight reduces the life expectancy of the cats and also causes stress especially on tendons, joints, and ligaments which in turn causes arthritis. In the cat’s body, fat lurks in places you can never imagine, such as abdomen and chest, and this can prevent the ability of the lungs to expand which eventually make breathing a challenge. Obesity is also related to diabetes mellitus in cats and overweight leads to hypertension. Obesity and overweight can suffer from a fatty liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis which if not untreated, the cat may die due to liver failure.
Failure to control parasites
If you have dogs, you probably know about parasites, but you should never assume they are the same for cats. Parasites such as fleas are common, but others such as heartworms, hookworms, ticks, roundworms, and mites are not well understood and as a new cat owner, you may not know it. If you love dogs, you probably know how easy it is to treat heartworm, but treatment options for cats are limited. It’s good to talk to your vet about preventive care which should be based on the habits and location of the cat (indoor vs. outdoor cats), because some parasites are transmitted to humans.
Ignoring the claws
As stated earlier, cats are naturally independent. Many people are already aware of this phrase, and this makes the new cat owners to make the mistake of ignoring the claws. Cats have very sharp claws which do not only pose threats to you as the owners, but also to your children as they can badly harm them. Most importantly, long claws are painful to the cats, and you won’t like it to see your cat in discomfort. If you want to keep your first cat like a pro, ensure that the claws are regularly trimmed, as this will not only prevent it from suffering but will also keep it happy.
Lack of litter box training
Earlier we talked about cleaning the litter box, but training your cat to use the litter box comes first. If you bring a young kitten, you must show it where the litter box is and how to use it. If you bring an already grown cat, you can’t assume that it will locate where the litter box is and how to use it because you have subjected it to a totally different location from where it was used to. If you fail to train your cat on how to use the litter box, don’t get mad when it relieves itself anywhere within your house from bedroom to living room and dining room. You should train your cat in order to relate waste with this location. Some cats may not prefer using litter box due to health issues, where you should work with a vet to rule out behavioral or medical issues and start training.
Staring at your new cat
Bringing a cat in your home is a dream come true for many. You probably want to play with it every time and then, but because it’s shy, it will hide under the sofa. Given that you want to continue playing, you would probably lie on the floor watching its every move. This is a mistake as staring the cat has never been a good idea because it provokes the language of hostility. To you, staring could be part of the game, but to the cat, it’s a sign of issuing a challenge over territory for a fight. Looking directly at your cat is intimidating and makes your cat nervous and can use her sharp claws on your face. Make her comfortable by watching it from the corner of your eye.
Deciding against pet insurance
When you visit one of your closest friends and see how happy and close they are with their cat, the first thing to cross your mind is that cats are naturally easy to keep. Due to the fact that cats are indoor pets, your guess is as good as mine that they are free from all sorts of harm that may cause injuries. Then you ask yourself, what’s the need of insuring your cat? Many new cat owners have asked themselves this question and later come to realize the extent of the mistake they make when they failed to insure their cats. A cat can accidentally fall from a balcony, develop an allergy, or eat a needle. After taking it to a vet, you’ll not fail to realize how costly veterinary services are. But, pet insurance ensures that you subject your cat to the right treatment based on its interests and not your finances.
Not allowing the cat to be a cat
Cats can neither be a child nor a dog. They’re unique pets with unique characteristics that define who they are. They have some traits that may not be acceptable especially if it’s your first time to have a cat around. Some of these traits may frustrate you because you don’t understand their needs. Naturally, cats seek out high places where they can comfortably sharpen their claws. You should understand that what they do is a true definition of who they are, and not misinterpret this behavior as disobedience and stubbornness. When you decide to bring a cat in your home, accommodate their needs, and you’ll have a fruitful relationship with it.